Kubernetes: Evicted pods and pods Quality of Service

setevoy profile image Arseny Zinchenko Originally published at rtfm.co.ua on ・5 min read

Kubernetes: Evicted pods and Pods Quality of Service

We have a Kubernetes cluster running on AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service.

In this cluster, we have an application which is usually working fine but sometimes our monitoring system notifies about unhealthy pods:

Check pods:

$ kk -n eks-prod-1-web-projectname-admin-backend-ns get pod
bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-64648597fc-9j29n 1/1 Running 0 43m
bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-64648597fc-kptjj 1/1 Running 0 43m
bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-7f4b5bdb4c-wlbjf 0/1 Evicted 0 12d
bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-8478d778f9–5mrnc 0/1 Evicted 0 15d

Here we can see that two pods are in the Evicted status — let’s go to see what is going on.

Kubernetes requests and limits

So, in Kubernetes, we can limit resources used by our applications in two ways — with requests and limits:

 cpu: 100m
 memory: 100Mi
 cpu: 100m
 memory: 100Mi


  • requests: is used by the Kubernetes Scheduler to chose a WokerNode to place a pod on depending on the values of the request - a node has to have free resources enough to run this pod on it
  • limits: such a "hard-limit" - maximum value for a resource that can be used by a pod

Kubernetes pods QoS classes

Documentation — Configure Quality of Service for Pods.

Pods in Kubernetes can be in one of three Quality of Service (QoS) classes:

  • Guaranteed: pods, which have and requests, and limits, and they all are the same for all containers in a pod
  • Burstable: non-guaranteed pods that have at least or CPU or memory requests set for at least one container
  • Best effort: pods without requests and limits at all

You can check your pod’s QoS class with describe pod -o yaml:

$ kubectl get pod appname-54545944b4-h8gmv -o yaml
cpu: 100m
qosClass: Burstable

Here we have requests for CPU only, thus such a pod will be under the Burstable QoS class.

Now, let’s go to see how QoS classes impact on the lives of pods.

Node tolerations

When a Kubernetes WorkerNode in a cluster starts lacks available resources — memory, disc, CPU, etc — a cluster’s scheduler at first stops adding new pods on such a node.

Also, Kubernetes adds special annotations to such a node describing its status, for example  —  node.kubernetes.io/memory-pressure.

See the full list here — Taint based Evictions.

In such a case, kubelet on such a node will start killing running containers and their pods will be in the Failed status.

For example, if a node’s hard disk exhausted — then kubelet will start deleting unused pods and their containers, and then - will delete all unused images.

If this will be not enough — then it will start killing (actually —  Evict ) users pods in the following order:

  • Best Effort — pods without requests and limits ant all
  • Burstable — pods, using more resources the is set in their request
  • Burstable — pods, used fewer resources the is set in their request

Guaranteed pods, in general, must not be affected at all, but in case if a node have nothing more to remove and it still needs for resources — kubelet will start removing such pods as well, even if they are under the Guaranteed QoS class.

To find a real reason why a pod was evicted you can check its events.

Going back to our pods now:

$ kk -n eks-prod-1-web-projectname-admin-backend-ns get pod
bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-7f4b5bdb4c-wlbjf 0/1 Evicted 0 14d
bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-8478d778f9–5mrnc 0/1 Evicted 0 17d

And their events:

$ kk -n eks-prod-1-web-projectname-admin-backend-ns get pod bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend-7f4b5bdb4c-wlbjf -o yaml
message: ‘The node was low on resource: memory. Container bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend was using 1014836Ki, which exceeds its request of 300Mi. ‘
phase: Failed
reason: Evicted

Here Kubernetes tell us that “ Container was using 1014836Ki, which exceeds its request of 300Mi ”.

Here Ki == kibibyte (1024 bytes, 8192 bits), а Mi — mebibyte, т.е. 1024 kibibytes, или 1048576 bytes.

Let’s convert 1014836Ki to megabytes:

$ echo 1014836/1024 | bc

Almost gigabyte of the node’s RAM.

And let’s check again resources specified in the Deployment of this pod:

$ kk -n eks-prod-1-web-projectname-admin-backend-ns get deploy bttrm-web-projectname-admin-backend -o yaml
 memory: 3Gi
 cpu: 100
 memory: 300Mi

So, as here we have no CPU limits, also limits and requests for CPU and memory are not equal  —  then it has QoS Burstable class. Also, this node had no other pods running so Kubernetes killed that one.

Grafana’s graphs can show us the whole picture — check the pod’s statuses history (see the Kubernetes: a cluster’s monitoring with the Prometheus Operator post):

So the pod was working on the WorkerNode in the Running state, but then at 19:40, it was killed.

Let’s check the WorkerNode in this time:

The node has memory exhausted (AWS EC2 t3.medium, 4GB RAM) and kubelet started removing pods.

And let’s see on the pod’s resources used:

Actually, we can see that the pod got some incoming traffic and started consuming a lot of memory.

The memory on the node ended and kubelet killed that pod.

The following question is to developers — or this is expected, and I need to move the application to nodes with more memory available, or they have some memory leaks in the application — and developers will have to fix it.

Useful links

Originally published at RTFM: Linux, DevOps, and system administration.


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